Bygone Washington: A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Company

As those who have participated in the neighborhood walking tours I’ve led know, one of the things I touch upon is how the greater Park View section of Georgia Avenue had a very strong German population in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While Schuetzen Park comes to mind immediately as a gathering place for local celebrations and events, evidence of German settlement is also found by looking at the homesteads belonging to the Gass, Widmeyer, and Glick families. Even Columbia Road was known as Steuben Street until 1905.

Loeffler Plant, Brightwood Avenue, 1906

Many of these families had livelihoods tied to Washington’s markets as butchers and, as in the case of the Gass family, later as grocers. One notable German family that settled just north of Rock Creek Church Road was that of Andreas Loeffler (Löffler) who settled in the area now roughly located at the southwest corner of Georgia Avenue and Quincy Street in the early 1870s. At this farm, Loeffler founded what became the A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Company, a major Washington Industry that thrived at 3730 Brightwood Avenue (later Georgia) until ca. 1916. In that year a new facility was built on Benning Road, SE, across the Anacostia River, and operations were moved there adjacent to the Union Stock Yards.

This section from the 1909 Baist's Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Washington shows the location of the Loeffler plant to the north of Rock Creek Church Road and west of Georgia Avenue

A good description of the A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Co. during its heyday comes from a 1907 Washington Post article, published just two years after Andreas Loffler’s death in 1905. The plant, located on Brightwood Avenue near Rock Creek Church Road, was described as consisting of nearly a dozen spacious houses, joined together at angles, filled in every conceivable fashion with the most modern equipment. In many instances the buildings were described as going two stories underground and having adjoining concrete floors. The use of concrete for the flooring was considered a feature of interest as it created a far more sanitary plant, allowing them to be washed at intervals throughout the day.

Loeffler Christmas Greetings from 1915

The underground levels of the packing plant were used as cold storage rooms in which meats were stored and cured. Well-ventilated cooking rooms with big, steaming kettles were located on the upper floors.

The Loeffler Company had an extensive retail and wholesale trade, not only offering cured meats in Washington at the Central and Northern Liberty Markets (among others), but also in most important cities and towns throughout the United States.

The appearance of the Brightwood plant, located at the rear of the Loeffler homestead, was that of a farm. Stretching out on both sides were green landscapes, dotted with shrubbery and flowers and stately oaks. The Loeffler’s home was described as large and airy, with tidy appointments showing the careful work of an excellent housekeeper.

Today there is no trace of this once important industry in the neighborhood. The old Loeffler homestead and factory giving way to rowhouses and the Park Place Apartments above the Metro.

This photograph of construction at the A. Loeffler Sausage & Provisions Co. dates to 1916 and presumably show the new facilities at Benning (from Library of Congress)

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9 Comments on “Bygone Washington: A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Company”

  1. Angry Parakeet Says:

    The holiday greeting card is delightful. I had a hard time making out the hog’s head placed on a leaf – at first I thought it was a rendered heart!

  2. Katherine Harding Says:

    Andreas Loffler is my great great grandfather. I have always been fascinated with the history of my family. I have several photos of the plant, their home, and the Loffler family. If your interested please let me know. Loved finding this story! Thank you for sharing.

    • Kent Says:

      I’d be very interested. Why don’t you contact me at kent.boese (at) anc.dc.gov

    • Al Wenzel Says:

      I am Al Wenzel, archivist of the Washington Saengerbund , a German choral society founded in 1851 and still active today. I have just come across this posting while researching past history. We know that Andreas Loeffler, Katherine Loeffler, and Maj. Charles Loeffler were members of the Saengerbund, listed in the published History. A friend and long-time member of the Saengerbund, William “Bill” Vogel has a photo of a Loeffler Sausage delivery truck in which his grandfather Fritz Vogel is sitting along with 13 other members of the company. We are wondering if you have this picture, and also if you have any details of the Loeffler’s activities with the Saengerbund.
      Thank you


    • The folks over at the Old Time D.C. Facebook group would also be fascinated by these, I suspect, Katherine: https://www.facebook.com/OldTimeDc. You can also share them by email at oldtdc@gmail.com

      • Kathy Harding Says:

        I am just seeing this post. I am sorry for such a late reply. I do not know of any activities with the Saengerbund ? I did not know of this group , I would like to know more. I do not have a copy of the photo you refer to as well. I would love to see it. I do have some very nice photos of the Loffler’s and that have been handed down to me. I am not sure if you are interested in those. I would be thrilled to know any history or photos you have on the Lofflers – My Email address is Pebles1061@aol.com

  3. Cynthia Says:

    What an amazing find ! I enjoyed this so much. Also, my great great grandfather…..our family has a long legacy here.


  4. […] posted a brief history of Loefflers Sausage and Provision company before, which was located roughly on the southwest corner of today’s Georgia Avenue and […]


  5. […] years ago, he ways, everybody used to go to Loeffler’s sausage factory, just on the outskirts, for their mail. Petworth wasn’t big enough then to get delivery, the […]


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